Office of Student Financial Aid

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

FALL 2014 - SPRING 2015

William D. Ford Federal Direct GRADPLUS Loan Program
for Graduate Students

San Francisco State University participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Students will now apply for GRADPLUS Loans for Graduate Students directly through the U.S. Department of Education.

What is a GRADPLUS Loan?

The GRADPLUS loan is a federally funded loan from the U.S. Department of Education for graduate students who must be accepted and enrolled in a master's degree program. Students will apply for GRADPLUS loan directly through the U.S. Department of Education.

Am I eligible for a GRADPLUS Loan?

If you are enrolled at least half-time (4 graduate units) in a master's degree program in a U. S. college, university or other eligible postsecondary institution, you may be eligible for a Federal GRAD PLUS loan. You must also be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.

Do I need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in order to apply for A GRADPLUS Loan?

Yes, students are required to complete the free government application at It is a good idea to be evaluated for all federal and state financial aid options first, prior to applying for a GRADPPLUS Loan. In order to be offered a Federal Direct GRADPLUS Loan, the student must have a FAFSA on file with San Francisco State University, Office of Student Financial Aid. After San Francisco State University receives the FAFSA, and the student's file is complete, the student will be sent an email from Office of Student Financial Aid informing him or her of an offer that is available to view and accept on line on SF State Gateway at

What will my interest rate and origination fee be?

Repayment is a fixed interest rate of 7.21% on all GRADPLUS Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014. Interest accrues on the unpaid balance of the loan from the date of disbursement by the school until the entire principal balance is paid in full. Failure to make monthly or quarterly interest payments results in the interest being capitalized (added to the principal of the loan). Currently, a 4.288% origination fee is deducted upfront of each disbursement.

*Note: effective October 1, 2014 the loan origination fee will increase to 4.292%.

How much money am I eligible to borrow?

Unlike other types of financial aid, the GRADPLUS Loan is not need based. The maximum eligibility amount is determined by the Student's Cost of Attendance minus any financial aid that the student has been awarded and accepted. The GRADPLUS loan can replace all or a portion of the expected resources. If the student will not be receiving financial aid of any kind, the student can borrow the full cost of attendance. Students do not have to apply for the entire amount. Students should calculate the amount they need. Please refer to your Financial Aid award offer on the SF State Gateway for the amount of GRADPLUS that you are eligible to borrow.

Can I find out in advance if my credit check will be approved?

Approval or denial of the loan is based on the student's credit history. Credit checks are performed by the Department of Education. If a review of the students'credit history is adverse, the loan is denied. A student who has adverse credit history may receive a loan by securing an endorser who does not have adverse credit history.

Am I required to take a GRADPLUS Loan upon application?

No. Approval of a GRADPLUS loan application does not commit you to accepting the loan. If approved, you must contact Office of Student Financial Aid to cancel or reduce the requested loan amount.

How will I receive my GRADPLUS Loan funds?

The GRADPLUS Loan is disbursed to the student. If the loan is a full year loan, the loan will be disbursed half in the Fall and half in the Spring. If the loan is for one semester, the loan will be disbursed in one disbursement. If the student owes money to San Francisco State University, the university deducts all financial obligations and forwards the balance check to the student or initiates a direct deposit. We encourage students to sign up for direct deposit at Click on SIGN UP FOR DIRECT DEPOSIT.

When will I have to begin repaying the GRADPLUS Loan?

Repayment and interest will apply to funds after the loan has been disbursed. The first payment of interest and principal are due within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. The student can defer payment while enrolled at least half time (4 graduate units). Interest that accrues will be capitalized if not paid by the student.

Steps in Applying for a GRADPLUS Loan

Step 1 -

To apply, the student will need to complete the Federal Direct GRADPLUS Loan Request Form. You must complete and mail this form to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Step 2 -

You must go online to apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan at Click on SIGN IN. The Department of Education will perform a credit check. The credit check approval is good for 90 days. If your GRADPLUS loan is denied, you may be able to request an endorser.

Step 3 -

After the credit check is approved and, if this is the students' first GRADPLUS Loan, the student must complete an online electronic Master Promissory Note (e-MPN) at

Step 4 -

The student must complete the online entrance loan counseling. (This process is required for first time borrowers in the Federal Direct Gradplus Program ONLY).

SF State Home